A group of cross-party MPs has today called for a complete ban on the export of the UK’s plastic waste to developing countries.
An Early Day Motion (EDM), echoing campaign group A Plastic Planet’s calls for the ban, has been signed by 35 MPs to date.
Proposed by Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, the EDM has been signed by MPs including Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith and former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP.
In the EDM, MPs strongly condemned the practice of placing the onus of dealing with the UK’s waste on to the world’s poorest people.
They highlighted that two thirds of plastic waste separated for recycling in the UK is sent abroad for processing, while 105,000 tonnes of the UK’s plastic was imported by Malaysia alone in 2017-2018.
In 2018 the National Audit Office warned that millions of tonnes of plastic sent abroad for recycling may be being sent to landfill rather than being processed.
A Plastic Planet co-founder, Sian Sutherland, said: “MPs from all sides are right to today call for an end to the despicable practice of exporting plastic waste abroad. Let’s deal with our own waste here in the UK. Our waste is invisible to us.
“We used to think popping it in the right bin is where our responsibility ends. The UK should deal with its own dirt – not ship it abroad to others. The answer is clear - we must urgently turn off the plastic tap.”
EDMs are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons which allow MPs to draw attention to a particular issue.